In which places or societies is the old Buddhism (mainstream Buddhism) a formative world-view which guides and dominates daily life?

Added to focus my question.

By mainstream Buddhism as guiding and dominating daily life I mean that the people do not follow the capitalist ideal, that they do not earn and spend their money for the newest technical equipment or the latest fashion. Instead, that they prioritize and practize Buddha's 8-fold path.

3 Answers 3


You can follow Buddhism and get results in any society. But as a Buddhist, you will come across less obstructions in societies in which Buddhism is the main religion. Especially for monks, life is easier in Asian Buddhist countries compared to others as the people almost consider it as a duty to support and protect the community of the Sangha.

Monks keep to the 227 precepts and the lay people keep to 5 or 8 precepts. Monks advice lay people on spiritual development and the lay people support the monks by providing the necessities of life and what is helpful for teaching the Dhamma.

The Buddhist lay people are not prohibited to spend money on the newest technical equipment or the latest fashion or any other sense pleasure that wouldn't break the precepts. It's just that they are being advised by the monks that those comforts are temporary and are encouraged to practice spiritual development whenever they can, in order to attain the final solace.

  • How do the monks from the Sangha practize Buddhism in their daily life? What is their main preoccupation?
    – Jo Wehler
    Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 12:05
  • They spend time learning, teaching and practicing the Dhamma. Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 12:48
  • Practicing the Dhamma how does it look like? How does it form society?
    – Jo Wehler
    Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 18:13
  • updated the answer Commented Jan 7, 2016 at 2:36

Actually is disappearing rapidly, maybe another 5-10 years in countries of SEAsia, but there also in very remote areas and certain places.

As every thing, conditions are made by one self and so people leave thinking or right view global, it global disappears.

One would be wise to hurry and not naively that one day it will come to his hometown, that of which is disappearing in this world. Dont waste you time in trying to change the worlds current, one loses each moment if resisting under people of wrong view, if not established Dhamma yet and could fall down (not having entered the stream)

There is a nice short explaining of the Mangala Sutta, by Upasika Nina Van Gorkum: The Greatest Blessings. And also a good guide: Mangala Suta Uannana - Ven. K. Gunaratana Thera

Such as right view in modern world, such is impossible, since it is the notion of wrong view that makes it be called "modern" (among the stream of the world).

Mr. Jo Wehler may also follow a discussion between a Modern Buddhist who thinks everything is fine, and Atma some years ago: Why is it important to value and see our Conditions?

95% of what ever you find, is fare away from integrity, respect, gratitude, generosity ... there are so less people who even practice the most simple meritorious deed. And that is not only a matter of lay people but has its cause also and leaded by monks and nuns. Wrong view is very blatant. They are thinking in terms of rights and when people even meet, they meet for the sake of saving their feeding grounds, may we all be in harmony... no one would meet for sharpen his views and correct them or give ones reputation to help others out. People are delighted in becoming and use Dhamma just for gain and becoming. Nearly nowhere you would find not "we live form dana" at fist place and 95% of Dhamma is shared as a means for business. Such as "happiness through wealth" ideas and leading jubu approaches are the drive of what is modern known as Buddha Dhamma.

The Lord Buddha taught that his Dhamma, when placed in the heart of an ordinary run-of-the-mill person, is bound to be thoroughly corrupted, but if placed in the heart of a Noble One, it is bound to be genuinely pure & authentic, something that at the same time can be neither effaced nor obscured.

So as long as we are devoting ourselves merely to the theoretical study of the Dhamma, it can't serve us well. Only when we have trained our hearts to eliminate their 'chameleons' — their defilements — will it benefit us in full measure. And only then will the true Dhamma be kept pure, free from distortions & deviations from its original principles. — Phra Ajān Mun Bhūridatto

Where ever you are, work on your future conditions. Is the very nature of merits that it is always a matter for giving something up to gain a better and it is natural that one leaves, step by step. Such as a society where right view is still something which has a general value, does not even exists among monastics in an amount that it would be sense-able at large. And Atma did not come across even one monk or nun in the modern world who has even basics right view on even an worldly level. Today people are feeding on the heritage of the three jewels, nothing else, and use it for a livelihood and to even to explain has become a merely useless thing, like people of old had realized the fact of the darkness in this world: Living in the World with Dhamma

There is no other way as to give and letting go to develop ones own conditions for future conditions, right here and now.

(Note: this answer has not been given with the agreement to be means of trade or the purpose of/for trade and/or keep people trapped and bound. How you handle it lies in your sphere, but does not excuse the deed here either.)


Re. people following the capitalist ideal you might consider the book, The Buddha's Teachings on Prosperity: At Home, At Work, In the World.

It's written by Bhikkhu Basnagoda Rahula

Bhikkhu Basnagoda Rahula, PhD, was born in Sri Lanka and became a Buddhist monk in childhood. He holds a Master's Degree in literature, and a doctorate in English. He serves the congregation at the Houston Buddhist Vihara, and teaches English at the University of Houston. He lives in Texas.

It has a dozen or so chapters, on various topics e.g. making a living and choosing a marriage partner.

It's also mentioned in some other topics on this site.

Its premise (I paraphrase from an introductory chapter) is that the Buddha's recommendations expected two parts to society:

  • The community of monks (renunciates)
  • The lay society (prospering)

The author wrote that a lot of (even, most of) the suttas were spoken to, written by and for, and preserved by monks; but that there are suttas which are clearly to (and therefore for) lay-people.

The book identifies and summarizes those (many dozen) suttas for laypeople, which includes identifying suttas which recommend things like how to use your income: i.e. reinvest a lot of it, use some for your immediate needs, and save some. So it's not exactly anti-capitalist, IMO.

It also recommends taking care your employees (as well as of your parents, teachers, family, friends, and ascetics). The Sigalovada Sutta is one of these suttas.

Some people these days see "capitalist society" as identical to "consumer society" or "hedonist society", but they need not be exactly synonymous.

Maybe it's old-fashioned of me but IMO the "capitalist ideal" is that "capital" is "the means of production": e.g. not so much the ripe fruit but rather the orchard, not the harvested grain but the tractor (and the seed grain which is kept for next year).

  • Incl. the corps. Never, never suggested the Buddha to walk the accumulating lane, but its quite modern, that Monks who serve and live from laypeople and there harvest and are directed into gain and grow, become as well put such interpretation on the front. And yes, very yes. Laypeople and monks are a team, neither corrupt or righteous according where they are and for what kind of purpose, Upaska Chris. Dhamma is not about ideas like capitalism even lesser for such as communism but of what is righteous, virtuous and leads to liberation. And from this comes that, with the arising...that. Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 11:26
  • "Incl. the corps"?
    – ChrisW
    Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 11:29
  • Ever made the work of a farmer, or thought where wealth, especially today, is coming from? Actually wealth will not follow one at least or for a long time. What does Upasaka Chris thinks, does the world burn? Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 11:32
  • Never, never suggested the Buddha to walk the accumulating lane There's a version of Christianity called Prosperity theology that I find strange and which is a bit popular in America. The author's teaching in Texas and using "Prosperity" in the book title reminded me of that (and might resonate similarly with any American); so I was skeptical. Some critics of the book say that his translations of the suttas are loose; but at least it is mostly based on suttas. I recommend it as a collection of suttas which are intended for lay society.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 11:34
  • For sure good, there are no Suttas, especially those for laypeople, who should not be read, but its unwise to open even one book of Dhamma, seeking for accumulation. This ideas aren't Christians. They are preached by monk in SEA everywhere, since people are not interested in letting go and righteousness but in gain and becoming.The foremost Buddhist forum is run under this property theology and its sadly pretty common especially in JuBo societies as Atma had to face. Via L V Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 11:45

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